2 out of 4 stars
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His Reason to Breathe is a romance book written by B.E. Stalter. It follows a woman who finds herself in an abusive relationship that she didn’t see coming. Her friend helps her escape, but her abusive fiancée tracks her across the country. This book is poignant and painful.
Mak and Jo are sisters from different ma and pa. That’s how they refer themselves to people. Mak’s parents were irresponsible that Mak had to be taken in by Jo’s family. Their bond got tighten by the fact that Jo once saved Mak from being raped when they were in school. From there, they have been each other’s ride or die. They even have a secret word for each other that they use when one is in danger and needs help from the other.
So, while working on a ranch, Jo meets a man whom she later introduces to Mak. This man is a lawyer, and he asks to take both of them to see his friend, and they go. That is when Mak gets introduced to this man called Brian. He is from a rich family, and he later proposes marriage to her. Mak accepts, but with two conditions. This will be a long engagement of at least six months, and they will not be having sex until then.
When Brian breaks his promise, Mak doesn’t know what to do because Brian is a very powerful man. So she put up with his sexual and physical abuse. She uses the secret word to tell Jo that she is in danger. When Jo helps her, has she finally escaped the danger? Is she free forever now? Will Brian let her go just like that, or will he use every resource at his disposal to scour the country to find her? Answers to these questions can be found in between the covers of this book.
I did not quite enjoy this book because it made me cringe many times, especially when it came to sex scenes. I don’t want to spoil things for you, but, in many scenes, after Mak had run away from Brian, she fell in love with another man. This man always wanted to have sex with her, even when he knew that she got sexually abused by her previous fianceè just four months ago. This man would console her but continue to tell her that he couldn’t wait to be inside of her. This made me uncomfortable to read because he wasn’t any different from Brian, the abuser.
I can’t complain about character development because as much as it wasn’t that good, I was still satisfied with it. The backstories of each character that were given made me understand why some characters behaved the way they did. Like, I understood why Mak seemed to be not so confident when she had to take big decisions—it was all because of what she went through growing up. She looked up to Jo. That’s why she always looked for her approval before she could do anything big for her life. When Jo went away, I felt scared for Mak because, for the first time in her life, she wouldn’t have anyone to make decisions for her.
The plot didn’t impress me that much. After the Brian saga, one could say the plot ran out because, after that, nothing much happened. I was just reading about the aftermaths, and it was so tedious. It was like the author was afraid to leave it there, so she felt like she should show us how Mak and her new family moved on from the drama. And the family of Mak’s new husband was so big that it was hard for me to tell who was who.
What I love is that the narration and the dialogue were well balanced. So I didn’t feel like the story was told to me. I felt included because of the seamless dialogue. Each character had its own dialect that separated them from the rest.
I also loved what the book was trying to teach us; that everyone can be the victim of domestic abuse and that the effects are mostly psychological that’s why victims can’t just run away when the perpetrators are not home. When Mak kept making excuses for Brian, that maybe she was the one pushing him to be like this, further proved the psychology behind the victims staying in these unhealthy relationships.
I came across few errors. The book had profane words, and it had explicit sex scenes, so it should be read by mature readers. I have to rate it 2 out of 4 stars because of the reasons stated above. It doesn’t discriminate against anyone.
It contains physical and sexual abuse, so people who could be triggered should definitely skip this book.
His Reason to Breathe
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